Jeff Zucker often talks about his fear of trading “analogue dollars for digital pennies.” That won’t be allayed by the performance of NBC.com. NBC TV Network President John Eck told a PriceWaterhouseCoopers media conference in New York that the site would generate “tens of millions of dollars” in revenue “in a business that didn’t exist” a few years ago, Reuters reports.
There’s something to say for that, although it would mean more if we knew how much NBC had invested in the site. But an NBC source says the site is “close” to being profitable, depending on how you want to account for certain costs.
In the bigger picture, NBC.com is at best modest part of NBC U’s digital portfolio: Zucker has said the company will generate $1 billion in in digital revenue this year — though he since he hasn’t defined what “digital” means, it’s hard to assess that claim, too. For instance, do video-on-demand sales of Universal movies count?
And in the very big picture, NBC U is still very much an analogue company, and willl be for a while: Last year NBC U recorded operating profits of $3 billion on revenue of $15.4 billion.